Korean label Demin has its sights set on Europe
It's no secret that Korean fashion is having a moment, especially in Hong Kong. And the latest label that is winning over local fans is the cool yet minimalist Demin. The brand's launch was celebrated at I.T. last month, with a party attended by K-pop band member and loyal customer Jessica Jung from Girls' Generation.
Demin's edge comes from its designer, Min Young Chang. Born in Seoul, he studied graphic design at Chung-Ang University before deciding to make the leap into fashion design. Unlike his peers, who studied on home turf, he set his sights on the West.
"I went to Italy behind my parents' back and decided to pursue fashion. The first year in Italy I was disappointed. I didn't learn anything new because I already had a strong design background. But in the second year I noticed something - the Italians had this innate sense of style and passion for beauty that made them design differently," he says.
Intent on learning more, he stayed in Europe for 10 years, working as a freelance accessory designer, and then for a design company that works with the likes of Hugo Boss, Valentino and Jean Paul Gaultier. In 2009, he was lured back to Korea by a local company. Once there, he decided to launch his own label in September 2012.
"Working within the Korean framework was initially hard. Italy is freer, and you can design what you want regardless of sales. That being said, there was something special about Korean designs. If you look at brands like Gucci and Tom Ford, they don't suit the Asian figure. So I combine the Korean fit with my design instincts from the West," he says.
The result is modern minimalism with a focus on architectural lines. The spring-summer 2013 collection features a futuristic zip-up jacket brought to life with patchworks of different fabrics and sloped shoulders. A floor-length, long-sleeved white gown has contrasting black panels on the shoulders and waistline. A red dress has flounces at the waist, creating a mini peplum.
"We are not like other brands. It's a special type of minimalism. It's all about the details. It may look simple but it's about the material and cut. I also think about certain trends but try to put my own individual spin on them," he says.
Chang cites designers like Miuccia Prada and Nicolas Ghesquière as inspiration, which is also why he has set his sights on expanding in Europe and America after launching the brand in Asia.
A handbag line and menswear is also on the cards.
"We're still a new brand and I am still trying to understand the consumer's taste and products. While a lot of Korean brands find it hard to break out of the Asian market.
"I want to break into Europe and America. We have new silhouettes that Europeans and Americans don't have," the designer comments.